Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Ingredients

What are little boys made of
What are little boys made of
Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails
And such are little boys made of. 

What are little girls made of
What are little girls made of
Sugar and spice and everything nice
That’s what little girls are made of
"What Are Little Boys Made Of?" is a popular nursery rhyme dating from the early 19th century.
The rhyme appears in many variant forms. For example, other versions may describe boys as being made of "snaps", "frogs", "snakes", or "slugs", rather than "snips" as above.
But little girls are ALWAYS “everything nice”, or “all things nice”. Wow!
According to Iona and Peter Opie, this writing first appears in a manuscript by the English poet Robert Southey, (1774–1843). But in popular culture, the line "sugar, spice and everything nice" has been interpreted in the song, “Daddy’s Little Girl” written by Robert Burke and Horace Gerlach and later recorded by "The Mills Brothers”,  in 1950.
Whatever the case may be, little boys and little girls have NOT changed… not by nature at birth, so they are literally “little” and untainted. Change comes with growth, standards, morals that are instilled and examples that are set; basically what parents, peers and the environment dictates.
Too many times little girls and little boys grow up too fast, and it’s not their doing, but different conditions decree such adaptation... even survival. Kids are adaptable because they imitate and emulate what they see.
For example, about 6 years ago, my grandson who was less than 2 years old, picked up my ‘old school’ flip cell phone and began to swipe the screen with his little finger. Of course that didn’t work, then after about 3-4 swipes, he handed it to me and said “boke, boke”!  LOL! Basically to him, my ‘good’ phone was broken! We all had a big laugh about that and I soon upgraded. Now, at 7 3/4 years old, he can show ME how to use my phone - text, emoji’s, download stuff, Google… the whole nine yards. Though, now his lifestyle dictated such knowledge and advanced use of technology, he is still the ‘little boy’.

You see, that rhyme resonates with me because as a younger ‘little boy’, he loved BUGS and snails etc.! It was nothing to see him pick up a ‘doo, doo’ bug, play with it... even put it in his pocket. And still to this day, he is fascinated by bugs.

Time brings about change, just as the lyrics of that rhyme evolved over time. But, the message and implication of that limerick DID NOT change… just as “little boys and little girls.”

~PJ Payne

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